The UNESCO supports the creation of Knowledge Societies, where knowledge is available to each and every individual. Ensuring access to scientific knowledge is one aspect of the realisation of Knowledge Societies. Communication between scientists has been revolutionised by the rapid development of information and communication technologies. In principle, the internet makes possible worldwide access to any sort of data.
What does Open Access mean?
The term "Open Access" refers to free access to scientific information, in particular to scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research. Open Access is much-debated.
The debate on "Open Access" has different dimensions: educational, scientific, legal, and politico-economic. Researchers and libraries typically support open access, calling for better dissemination of research results as a key ingredient for stimulating innovation and research excellence. Many publishers, on the other hand, are sceptical of open access, warning of the potential negative effects it might have on valuable aspects of the current publishing system, such as peer review. Finally, research funding bodies are investigating open access as a way of improving the return on their investments in research and development. Against the backdrop of this debate, new publishing business models are being developed. Copyright issues, quality assurance and digital preservation are generating further discussion.
Open-Access - a Handbook
The handbook on Open Access published by the German Commission and the European Commission aims to provide information about the opportunities and challenges offered by Open Access, and to present a wide array of issues and positions under debate. The English version of the handbook is a translation of the handbook in German, published by the German Commission for UNESCO in 2007.
Joint publication of the European Commission and the German Commission for UNESCO
The English version of the handbook, a joint publication with the European Commission’s Science in Society Programme, is available in print and electronic version.
The electronic version of the publication may be reproduced and disseminated as pdf-file for non-commercial purposes, provided that reference is made to the source and to the original publication as follows: “Open Access – Opportunities and challenges – A handbook” by the European Commission and the German Commission for UNESCO, 2008, translated from the original German edition published by the German Commission for UNESCO.
Resolution on Open Access of the 67. General Assembly of the German Commission for UNESCO
On their 67. General Assembly (June 27 - 28, 2007) the members of the German Commission for UNESCO adopted a resolution that supports the principle of Open Access.